'I had a "mummy makeover". Before you judge, here's what I want you to know.'

A few months ago, I had a "mummy makeover". 

That’s the cutesy name given to a not at all minor operation where I was quite literally cut in half, had 60 stitches down the muscles of my abdominal wall, a huge section of loose, stretch-marked skin removed from my lower abdomen requiring an excision from hip to hip, and a breast reduction that both repositioned my nipples and removed excess skin and breast tissue leaving me with a very tidy C cup.

You would think that all the cutting and suturing would be quite painful, and I’m sure it was. But it paled in comparison to the pain of the abdominal muscle repair. That part was to fix a two-centimetre separation in my abdominal wall caused by pregnancy. 

With that gaping chasm in my mid-section, I had no hope of ever doing a sit up again, and a lovely umbilical hernia to top it off.

That is all to say that as well as having obvious cosmetic benefits, the procedure also has functional benefits that will help me live life more fully, and with less neck and back pain, both of which I suffer from chronically.

Psst: Here are some things mums never say. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

Now, back to the bit where I tell you just how uncomfortable the recovery was.


Every single move you make uses your abs, and having 60 stitches through those suckers really lets you know you’re alive

Whatever you do, don’t laugh or cough for at least 4-6 weeks. And for the love of all things holy, DO NOT SNEEZE. On a scale of 1 – 10, that pain is a solid 15.

I’ve pushed an entire human out of my vagina without so much as a Panadol, and I’d rather do that any day over sneezing with a tummy full of sutures.

So why put myself through it?

I consider myself a body-positive feminist who embraces all kinds of beauty in others, and I’m proud of what my body has done for me.

So far, it’s carried me through (almost) 42 years of life, while sometimes being treated very poorly (I’m talking to you, early 30s party-girl), and produced two fully formed, incredible humans.

Was having this operation a case of “my body, my choice”, or was my choice informed by decades of patriarchal social conditioning and diet culture? A little from column A, and a lot from column B.

I tell my kids I love their beautiful, round bellies, their freckles, and their dimply bums. And I really bloody do! So, when do these attributes stop being adorable childhood traits and turn into things we need to either fix or fixate upon?

I’ve had a complicated relationship with my body my entire life.

Diet culture got its mitts on me good and early thanks to "society", including my parents who’d also been raised in its grips. 


My Mum used to tell us with pride how, when she met my Dad, she subsisted on a natural yoghurt and an apple all day while working full-time. 

She was 19, beautiful, and thin, with long, silken hair all the way down to her bum. But when my Dad picked her up from work each evening she was in tears at how starving she was. What a shitty way to live.

My Dad was in the army for decades, and either by virtue of his job or personality, has always stayed very fit. Both he and Mum grew up in the generation where it seemed the worst thing you could be was overweight, and that was certainly the message I internalised from a young age. 

I was even enrolled in Weight Watchers at the ripe old age of 12.

I probably had what you'd call ‘puppy fat’, but off I went to count points and weigh in weekly, along with a dozen or so middle-aged women.

I’m not mad about it, just sad about it. I’ve spent way too many hours, weeks, years on this diet and that. Counting calories and starving myself. Only to continue hating my body then look back on it, years later in photos, wishing “if only I was that thin again”.

Now, seeing as we’re the generation of cycle-breakers, I plan to do things very differently with my girls. 

I don’t let my kids see me weigh myself. We don’t talk about weight or diets in front of them. And whenever that bitchy voice in my brain critiques a woman on TV, I make sure I say something complimentary about her out loud to my girls. Of course, I’m modelling behaviour to them, but I’m also attempting to re-program myself.


Listen to Fill My Cup, On this episode Allira gently shares her practise of what she calls 'Mirror Talk', for shifting our minds towards self love. Post continues below.

Thankfully, the body positive movement is here, and I truly believe things will be different as my babies mature. 

So, what will I tell them about the time I had major surgery to drastically change my body? I suppose I’ll tell them that I loved my body before because it gave me them. For now, I’ve told them it was to help me be strong so she can look after them well.

When they’re older, I’ll tell them the whole truth. That I’d loved and hated (mostly hated) my body for decades, that it was really f***ed up, and that I don’t want them wasting their beautiful brains on thoughts of calories or kilos when there’s so much more incredible stuff they can do with them.

I’ll tell them I had the second half of my life ahead of me, and I wanted to live it to its fullest with them, pain free. 

That I wanted to be fully present in all their childhood memories, in my bikini having fun with them at the beach, not hiding off to the side taking the photos.

Lauren is a compulsive over-sharer and full-time working mum from Brisbane, who in her spare time blogs about motherhood, mental health, and more.

This article was republished with permission from Mental as a Mother. Read the original article.